Courtroom etiquette

Prepare for your court appearance and attending a proceeding.

Bring the needed items

  • one copy of your court documents
  • a copy of your Affidavit of Service (if you filed one)
  • a pen and paper to take notes

Wear proper clothing

  • dress like you’re going to a job interview
  • don’t wear a hat

Arrive early

  • arrive half an hour early to your court appearance
  • give yourself extra time, especially if you need to file documents with a court clerk
  • check in with the court clerk before court begins

Go through security

  • enter the courthouse through its airport-like security station, which is manned by sheriffs

Note: Sheriffs can assist you if you’re concerned about your safety.

Find your courtroom

  • check that your name is on the electronic display or the paper outside the courtroom
  • speak to a court clerk if you aren’t sure which courtroom you’re in

Follow basic courtroom process

  • when your matter is called, go to the front of the courtroom and sit at one of the tables
  • the other party or their lawyer will sit on the other side of the courtroom
  • when you talk to the judge, stand at the podium in the middle of the room
  • if you don’t understand what the judge has ordered, ask them to explain

Show respect in the courtroom

  • in the Court of Justice, call the justice “Your Honour”
  • in the Court of King’s Bench or Court of Appeal:
    • call the justice "Justice" (or “Chief Justice” or “Associate Chief Justice” as the case may be)
    • call the applications judge “Judge” or “Your Honour”
  • don’t argue with the judge
  • don’t talk during a session
  • be respectful to the other party and others in the courtroom
  • turn off all electronic devices
  • don’t bring children
  • don’t eat or chew gum
  • enter or leave quietly during a session

Note: A sheriff will remove anyone from the courtroom who’s aggressive toward or threatens others. A session may still be recorded after the judge leaves the courtroom.